New Delhi, Sep 18 (ANI): With all eyes now on Trinamool Congress's 72-hour deadline to the Centre to withdraw the fuel price hike and other key policy decisions, Congress leader Jagdambika Pal on Tuesday said West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is a trusted and sensible colleague of the UPA Government and will continue to be a part of the ruling coalition.
"It was earlier also speculated that she would take a tough stand whether on presidential polls, increase in railway fares or even when there were talks previously of bringing FDI in retail. She has her clear views and will not take a decision to go with the communal forces," said Pal.
Taking note of the wisdom of coalition, I believe today also a solution will come out. It is true that she had given a 72-hour ultimatum, but despite this she is in this coalition and will continue to be part of it," he added.
Asserting that Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress is an important UPA ally, Pal said the decisions that have been taken by the government are not political, but are in national interest.
"These are steps taken to improve the economy of the country. Our party is making all efforts to ensure that she remains in the alliance and it seems that she will abide by the decisions taken," he added.
An upset Mamata Banerjee will be meeting her party leaders in Kolkata this evening to decide on her party's continuance in the Congress-led coalition at the centre. She will preside over the crucial meeting were all party MPs, State Ministers and Chief of frontal organisations have been asked to be present.
Banerjee had earlier issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the UPA government to immediately roll back the hike announced in the diesel prices, LPG cap and FDI in retail and threatened to take a tough action if the centre refuses to act swiftly to her party's demands.
Banerjee had earlier on Saturday warned that the TMC would take 'hard' decisions at the end of her 72-hour deadline set by her party if the UPA Government did not scrap FDI in retail, diesel price hike and limit on subsidised LPG.
"We have called a party meeting on Tuesday to discuss these issues. If the Centre does not roll back the hike in diesel price and withdraw decisions on FDI in multi-brand retail and curbs on LPG, we will take decisions, however hard they may be. I hope the people will not misunderstand," she told a rally.
Expressing astonishment over the government's sudden big-ticket reforms, Banerjee said: "I don't know what happened. So many decisions were taken on a single day. We want economic reforms that reach the grassroots, not something that benefits a section. These are anti-people decisions."
"We are not in favour of quitting the government. We are always in favour of not breaking the alliance. But we are committed to the people." Banerjee said "we are the second largest ally of UPA and we could have got more cabinet berths. We have now only the Railway ministry but that hardly matters to us. What matters to us are the people," she added.
Banerjee further said that she could not betray the trust of the people, who have instilled confidence in her.
"We don't want FDI in retail. This was in our election manifesto. The people voted us for five years. How can we betray their trust? How many times will you go on hiking prices at the cost of the common people?" she asked.
Opposition parties ranging from the Left to the right will hold a nation-wide strike on Thursday to protest against the reforms in retail on the grounds that super-chains like Wal-Mart and Tesco will obliterate thousands of corner stores and the livelihood of many small farmers.
The government has, however, been stressing that states have the right to decide whether to allow FDI in retail. (ANI)